Tom Layberger

Conference Call

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Big arms in line for big games

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The rich could get richer with quarterbacks Landry Jones and Case Keenum facing favorable matchups this week. Florida State’s E.J. Manuel and a couple other signal callers could be in line for big weeks as well. Tight defensive matchups in the SEC could keep the numbers of some marquee players in check, but there are a couple of running backs in off-the-radar games as far as their importance that can pile up the yards this week.

QB E.J. Manuel at Boston College (Thurs.)
Manuel is coming off an exceptional game against North Carolina State and is riding a nice high from the last three weeks. In fact, he is the nation’s 14th-rated passer and will be going against a BC pass defense that ranks 96th in allowing 252 yards per game. True, the Eagles have allowed only six TD passes through the air. I still like the matchup especially if WR Rashad Greene returns, which would give Manuel a full deck at that position.

RBs Perry Jones/Kevin Parks at Maryland
The duo has combined for more than 1,100 yards. Jones is averaging 5.2 ypc and Parks 5.1. One or both could break loose against a Terps defense that is 118th of 120 FBS teams in defending the run.

Big 12
RB Malcolm Brown, Texas vs Texas Tech
The freshman has really been coming on strong the last two weeks totaling 254 yards and 4 TDs. No reason to expect him to slow down against the Red Raiders, who rank 114th against the run.

QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma vs Texas A&M
What more can Jones do? He’s coming off a school-record 505-yard outing at Kansas State and has 26 TD passes on the season. Well, the Aggies are 120th and dead last in the country allowing 318 yards per game through the air. (This also means WR Ryan Broyles is not about to slow down.)

RB Henry Josey, Missouri at Baylor
Josey leads the conference and is fourth nationally with an average of 127 yards per game. He has rushed for at least 129 yards in five of the last six games and will look to continue such a pace against Baylor this week. The Bears are 106th against the run and are allowing an average of 5.6 yards per rushing attempt. Only two teams are worse in the ypc category.

Big East
QB Tino Sunseri, Pitt vs Cincinnati
Suneri is 79th in rating and 61st in yards passing per game. But I mention him because he is coming off a career-game when he threw for 419 yards and 2 TDs with no picks against UConn. All that took place after Ray Graham went down during Pitt’s opening series. While perhaps not on the order of what he did against the Huskies, Sunseri could still be in a line for a nice day against a Bearcat pass defense that is allowing 285 yards per game to rank 109th.

Big Ten
RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin vs Purdue
Let’s face it, somebody will have to pay the price for the Badgers’ two successive last-minute defeats. While Ball had a nice game (17-85-1) at Ohio State, it was his lowest output since the opener against UNLV, a game that was over with in a hurry and his services were not much needed.  Ball has four 120-plus yard games this season and a fifth could be in the offing against a Boilermakers run defense that is 75th and allowing 170 yards per game.

Conference USA
QB Case Keenum, Houston at UAB
Not much more remains for Keenum to do. Maybe he can be put together a two-game total of 1,000 yards? Well, the Blazers are 108th in allowing 288 yards per game through the air. They are actually worse (116th) in pass efficiency defense because they have also yielded 18 TD passes in eight games and are allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 71 percent of their passes.

RB Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State vs New Mexico
Hillman leads the nation with an average of 151 yards rushing per game. The only reason why he may not pad his numbers is because the Aztecs are playing New Mexico and Hillman could be pulled after one half. The Lobos, who are 120th and last in the nation against the run, have lost their last two games by an aggregate 111-0 and have been outscored an average of 46.7-8.7 against FBS opponents this season.

TCU running backs at Wyoming
Take your pick between Waymon James, Matthew Tucker and Ed Wesley. They all have rushed for more than 400 yards this season and will be up against a Pokes run defense that ranks 109th and has allowed more than 1,000 yards rushing the last four games.

QB Brock Osweiler, Arizona State at UCLA
Osweiler has thrown for 923 yards and 7 TDs the last three games, including 307 yards on only 18 completions against Colorado last week. He is averaging better than 280 yards passing per game and will go against a Bruins pass defense that is 77th in efficiency even after a stellar day against Cal last week. Alas, there is a big difference in the seasons Osweiler and the Golden Bears’ Zach Maynard are having.

RB Tauren Poole, Tennessee vs Middle Tennessee
It’s been a struggle for Poole without the help of any kind of passing game the last three weeks. While QB Justin Worley should get something going against the Blue Raiders, Poole could be in for a big day against a defense that is a lowly 112th against the run.

RB Jeff Scott, Ole Miss at Kentucky
Scott has exploded a couple of times this season and had a nice day against Auburn last week. No reason why he should not get 15-20 carries and have an overall healthy outing against a Kentucky defense that is 100th against the run and allowing nearly five yards per tote.

Sun Belt
QB Ryan Applin, Arkansas State at Florida Atlantic
The 0-7 Owls have not been that bad defensively. Rather, Applin can get it done through the air and on the ground making it a long day for the defense. Five times this season the junior has totaled more than 300 yards.

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